Author Topic: Leaks in basement - what would you do?  (Read 2173 times)

Healthie

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Leaks in basement - what would you do?
« on: November 21, 2019, 02:39:12 PM »
Hi all,

Owned my house for just over a year; knew there were some foundation problems, havent had any leaks until ~3 weeks ago. 2 small leaks in 2 different spots. Checked the gutters; they're clear. Leaks occurred after a long rain period.

1. I live in a cold place (~-20 in winter); some parts of my house slope towards the house; at this time would it be worthwhile to grab a load of dirt to steep the ground away from the house? We have no snow on the ground yet.
2. How far from the house should the gutter run off be? Mine are pointed about 3 feet from the house.

3. What is a better fix for this situation? I priced out rewrapping my foundation (Blueskin + gravel near base) and it's like $20k; and the house isn't worth investing that much into it.

GuitarStv

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Re: Leaks in basement - what would you do?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2019, 02:52:37 PM »
Spouts should drain 6 - 10 ft minimum depending on the grade.

Grade makes a huge difference with water coming into a home.  It's very common for patio stones or similar to start tilting towards a house and cause leaking issues.  Fixing the grade around the house will often solve leak problems.


I'd do both of those things first and then wait a year or two to see if your problem goes away.  (You need to wait at least one frost cycle, and sometimes there's more melt one year than the next.)

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Leaks in basement - what would you do?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2019, 07:19:04 AM »
In addition to making sure the spouts drain far enough away from the house, and adding some dirt to correct the slope issue, you might also want to add more downspouts. A general rule of thumb is a downspout every 20 feet, but you might need more (or less) based on the roof area serviced by the gutter. Adding a downspout only costs about $30-40 in materials, and is easy to do.

Jon Bon

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Re: Leaks in basement - what would you do?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2019, 08:51:30 AM »
You are getting good advice above.

Foundation problems, are almost 100% of the time just water problems. Luckily water can easily be managed.

Sounds like you checked your gutters and down spouts.

Now walk around with a level, or a bucket of water and test all your hard surfaces. Patios, walkways, etc and see if they slope towards the house. I had terrible water issues in my basement and I ripped out and replaced the badly negatively slopped sidewalks and it has been night and day.

The next thing you do is spend 10 mins walking around your house in a heavy rain. Its not fun, but this is the 100% sure fire way to find out whats wrong. See where the water is going, is anything overwhelmed? Is water pooling anywhere near the foundation? Can you see 'temporary streams of water going where it should not be?

Now with the steps above you know where the issues are happening. Extending downspouts, and a little grading costs about $5 and should fix the problem 99% of the time. Waterproofing the foundation in addition to being horribly expensive and most likely unnecessary. That is more like treating the symptoms and not the disease.

TrMama

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Re: Leaks in basement - what would you do?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2019, 01:04:14 PM »
The next thing you do is spend 10 mins walking around your house in a heavy rain. Its not fun, but this is the 100% sure fire way to find out whats wrong. See where the water is going, is anything overwhelmed? Is water pooling anywhere near the foundation? Can you see 'temporary streams of water going where it should not be?


This. You're already on the right track with checking the condition of the gutters and downspouts. However, just because they're present, doesn't mean they work properly when it rains. For that, you need to stand out in the rain and watch them in action. Look for water spilling over the top of the gutters. Also, stand next to each downspout and listen for water running through it. If you can't hear the water, there's likely a problem.

I agree that waterproofing the foundation should be a last resort. This is the equivalent of trying to turn your house into a boat. 

Reynolds531

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Re: Leaks in basement - what would you do?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2019, 07:47:02 PM »
Also take advantage of getting moisture as snow and blow it away from the foundation. I clear fifteen feet at the back of my house where there's a bad slope. And blow a path for water to follow when the enevitable quick melt comes.

Jon Bon

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Re: Leaks in basement - what would you do?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2019, 09:52:49 PM »
Also take advantage of getting moisture as snow and blow it away from the foundation. I clear fifteen feet at the back of my house where there's a bad slope. And blow a path for water to follow when the inevitable quick melt comes.

I am going to need you to explain this more. As this does not feel like correct advice.

Do you have terrible negative grading that for some reason you cannot fix?

Linea_Norway

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Re: Leaks in basement - what would you do?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2019, 06:42:12 AM »
If there is drainage around your house from an older date (15-20 years), this might need replacement. You can do this yourself and save lots of money. It is a very shitty job to do, but DH and I did this ourselves, digging by hand because a machine couldn't get between the house and the mountain wall behind it. To get proper sloping downwards, we had to dig pretty deep. The drainage pipes and gutters should lead to a place where water definitively flows away from your house.

Our old house had some drainage issues, even after we redid the old drainage system. And this was often due to big amounts of dead leaves clotting the above ground drainage system. We had some pipes running off under ground. But at heavy rain, we had streams running around toe house that came down from the forest behind (and above) the house. If anything clotted in those streams, water would stand against the walls and we would get water into the room with the washing machine. Then we would have to go out in the rain and removing the dead leaves and that helped.